Posted by Editoress on 11/20/04
Eric Wohlberg, a three time Olympian for Canada, Commonwealth Games gold medalist and multiple times national champion, signed with Symmetrics earlier this week, after racing for U.S. teams for the past decade. Eric spoke with us from his home near San Francisco, where he has recently returned after racing in Australia.
Canadian Cylist - So, a return to Canada! What brought this about?
Eric Wohlberg - It's something I've wanted to do for a couple of years, so it's great to see Canadian cycling stepping up to the plate to bring back riders. I hope that this is the start of a move that will encourage more corporate sponsorship in Canada. Racing for a Canadian team again was a driving factor for me.
CC - How well did you know the Symmetrics program?
EW - I raced the BC Superweek against the Symmetrics guys, and they have a great bunch of people running the program. They have a good environment, and I've done a fair bit for racing with all the guys racing for them, I have a lot of respect for them. Kevin (Cunningham) and Mark (Cunningham), who run the Symmetrics program, seem to have their heads screwed on straight. And they do some special programs that people don't know about, raising money for funding Special Olympics athletes; that's a fantastic program.
CC - How is it going to work, with you based in California?
EW - Yeah, I'll be in Sunnyvale, but it shouldn't be a problem. There are still a few things to look into with the schedule, but for Canadian events it just a matter of flying up to Canada. The team is stepping up their program, so they will be coming down (to the U.S.) for more NRC races, which means more exposure and experience for Canadian riders in bigger races.
CC - What about Sierra Nevada, your current team - did you have the opportunity to continue with them?
EW - Yes, I'm very happy that Sierra Nevada will continue next year. It looked a bit touch and go there for a while in August, but it will continue now. I was fortunate to have raced with them, but Kurt (Stockton, team manager at Sierra Nevada) understands that this is a great opportunity for me, so we are parting on good terms. I wanted to give something back to Canadian cycling, and this is the opportunity to bring some of my experience and knowledge to some of the younger riders, and get to ride again with guys like Scott Goguen, Svein (Tuft) and Cory (Lange), and meet some of the younger riders too.
CC - So, what is the focus going to be for the team in Canada?
EW - Well, in Canada it will be BC Superweek, Beauce and the Nationals, and I hear some events in Ontario, but I'm not sure which ones yet.
CC - Have you heard that there is likely to be a national road series starting up in Canada again next year?
EW - No, I hadn't heard that, but it's good to hear that it is coming back. It (the Canadian Tire series) kept me riding when I was working up north (Ontario), riding on gravel roads, it motivated me a lot, and a lot of riders came out of that experience.
CC - Does moving back to a Canadian team in any way signal that you are winding down your career?
EW - No, I'm not looking at it that way. My goal is that I am still a bike racer and a rider first. I'm still in for at least a couple of years, and hopefully I still have a lot to offer a team.
Happy Birthday to.... Gord Fraser who celebrated yesterday.
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